Whether the government is your employer or customer, federal government contract jobs can be challenging, rewarding and lucrative. Coordinating business relationships between government agencies and outside contractors can be intricate and regulated work, which is why skilled and certified contract managers are often in high demand for a variety of positions in this field.
Government contract jobs generally involve more complicated planning and reporting than those in commercial contract management. Government agencies are not always structured like businesses in the private sector, and they typically abide by more stringent regulations because they are accountable for spending taxpayers’ money. For these reasons, most government contract jobs require professionals who have the right training to manage the complexities of these relationships.
On the government side, certified contract managers can fill a variety of specialized roles. Positions like procuring contract officer, termination contract officer and administrative contract officer are examples of government contract jobs. Professionals generally work under and report to a contracting officer who is responsible for overseeing the entire process.
Within the private sector, companies may have different designations for the person responsible for handling their government contracts, or they may have several specialists handling government contract jobs – such as a proposal manager, compliance manager and director of government contractor services. Depending on the size of the company, these workers may specialize solely in government contracts or they may have commercial contract management responsibilities as well.
The specific responsibilities of government contract jobs can vary considerably. For instance, entry-level personnel are usually required to operate within the framework of established business practices and work under the supervision of an experienced contract manager. They generally have little freedom to make independent decisions, but must still be able to comprehend and apply the principles of government contract management in their daily activities.
Mid-level contract managers, on the other hand, may be able to exercise more independent judgment and often adapt standard contract management procedures to suit specific situations. At the highest level, contract management supervisors oversee and coordinate the work of the various contract specialists in their department. They also ensure employees comply with government regulations and adhere to industry best practices.
Whether professionals aspire to work for a government agency or government contractor, becoming a certified contract manager is one important step on the path toward obtaining a government contract job. Holding certification as a Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM), Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM) or Certified Government Contractor (CGC) is preferred or required for most government contract jobs.
Working on government contracts may be very different from commercial contracts, so it is usually essential for professionals in government contract jobs to have the proper professional training. Industry certification from the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) or National Association of Government Contractors (NAGC) can demonstrate a proven level of expertise and an in-depth understanding of the specifics of government contracts.
Obtaining certification from the NCMA or NAGC can be a great way to prepare yourself to apply for government contract jobs. But before you take the certification exams, it’s important to complete formal training in the field. Professionals can gain knowledge and skills – along with respected credentials through the Certificate in Agile Contract Management program.
The certificate program consists of four certificate courses: Essentials of Government Contract Management, Essentials of Commercial Contract Management, Advanced Contract Management and Effective Contracting Skills. Upon completion of the multi-course series, graduates can be prepared to sit for the CFCM, CPCM and/or CGC certification exams, and they can be prepared to take on a variety of government contract jobs.